COVID-19 Antibody Testing
How the Scheme Works
Antibody test is designed to prove whether you have detectable levels of antibody to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and to see if you have previously had the virus.
Through our partner laboratory – TDL – we have access to the new Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2-S test (IgG/IgM total antibody test). This blood test enables the determination of both the presence and level of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is the target of many COVID-19 vaccines. It can can signal whether a person has already been infected and has potentially developed immunity to the virus., and plays an important part in characterising a vaccine-induced immune response. This test is only suitable for those who are 14 days or more from exposure or the onset of symptoms or vaccination.
The test works by taking a finger blood (Serum) sample and testing for the presence of antibodies (IgG and IgM) to see if you have developed an immune response to the virus. Antibody tests differ from virus swab (PCR) test. Not suitable for overseas travel.
Our testing service is available to individuals, businesses and organisations in an effort to help bring employees back to the workplace safely. The antibody home finger-prick testing kit is registered with the MHRA. You can give your blood samples at home, the workplace, or wherever is most convenient.
For companies, a comprehensive company report, indicating the percentage of employees with significant antibody levels, will be delivered within 10 working days. Individual results will normally be returned by e-mail within 1-2 days of the laboratory receiving your samples.
The test has been validated using exactly the same methodology as PHE (Public Health England) uses to assess tests it wishes to use, by testing against large numbers of SARS-CoV-2 proven positive samples (in this case community based, as well as hospitalised case samples) and large numbers of true negative samples taken at least 6 months before the first COVID-19 case in the UK.
How to Order your Home Sample Collection Test Kit
Order your home sample test kit online from TP Healthcare Services website. Orders received before 3 pm will be dispatched the same day via Roya Mail 24 tracked and your kit will arrive within 1- 2 days or expedited option at checkout.
Follow the instructions provided on how to take a swab sample from the back of the throat, tonsils and nose.
Post your sample in a Royal Mail Priority Post box (Post-Paid) or arrange with a courier service.
Please find your Royal Mail post box at this link https://www.royalmail.com/priority-postboxes
Drop box service for Newcastle residents. Hand deliver your sample for testing by going to our drop-box location in Newcastle
Your sample test will arrive at the laboratory within 1-2 days of dispatch.
Get your results, within 24-48 hours from receipt at lab. An official lab report will be made available to you, to serve as proof of your result.
Covid–19 Antibody Test
Frequently Asked Questions
Antibodies are proteins that our immune systems produce in response to infectious agents such as viruses. These antibodies identify specific viruses and bind to them, thus blocking them from entering our cells, multiplying and causing symptoms.
If a person has previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2, they are likely to have these antibodies in their blood. Our test detects antibodies in blood samples and provides an indication of a person’s susceptibility to future infection.
Many COVID-19 cases (people with symptoms caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2) had only very mild symptoms and some people with SARS-CoV-2 infection had no symptoms whatsoever. Going forward, close monitoring of previous infections will be critical to:
- Understanding the strength of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 that you as an individual may have.
- Helping employees to return to work more safely, with a better understanding of their own risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the risk they may pose to others.
- Gaining a better understanding of a workforce’s susceptibility to infection
- Understanding the degree of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 within a community.
This test has been shown to detect 100% of severe hospitalised cases and 86.9% of 107 milder community cases, including asymptomatic people with a positive SARS-CoV-2 swab test, this is the test sensitivity.
For high or very high positives, the specificity of our test is 100%. This means for moderate to very high antibody positives, we are almost 100% certain they are not false positives. For moderate level positives, the specificity of our test is 99.5%.
For low level positives, the specificity of our test is 98.6%.
The test is best conducted 14 days after you have developed symptoms.
An overall result of “Negative” means that any IgM or IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) S1 spike protein that may have been present in your blood sample were not detected by our test.
This could be because:
- You have been infected, but your immune system has produced antibodies that do not bind to the SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike protein in our test.
- You have been infected, but the infection was mild and the antibodies you produced are below the detection limit of our test (if you have had typical COVID-19 symptoms, the first two of our three explanations are the most likely explanations)
- You have not previously been infected.
Receiving an overall result of “Positive” from our test confirms that you have had COVID-19 in the past and that your immune system has mounted a memory immune response against the virus that is detectable by our test – a positive result for either IgM or IgG gives an overall positive result.
For those that are positive, we will also show you whether you have a low, medium, high or very high amount of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, with a numerical value for your antibody level – indicating the strength of your immune response to SARS-CoV-2. The stronger your immune response to the virus the better, but it is VirTus’ belief that even a low positive antibody level in our test is actually evidence that you have a pretty strong immune response to the virus. This is because the MHRA required all companies developing antibody tests to set their cut-off for a positive test high (to keep specificity high).
The Covid-19 antibody test requires a finger prick blood sample to be collected and sent back to our accredited UK laboratory for testing.
Are the antibodies that our test detect protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection?
This test has also been tested against a SARS-CoV-2 neutralisation test and both IgM & IgG antibody levels measured by our test correlate very strongly (r=0.7, P<0.0001) with virus neutralising (blocking viruses from infecting cells) activity.
This means antibodies detected by our test are highly likely to block the virus from entering cells.
Inside your home testing ki, you will find:
- A finger prick blood collection device
- A pathology form
- A postage-paid envelope to return your sample to our laboratory.